Oral Argument March 19, 2014.
Appeal from Franklin Superior Court. Docket No: 11-2-50128-3. Date filed: 12/30/2011. Judge signing: Honorable Cameron Mitchell.
Leland B. Kerr (of Kerr Law Group ), for appellant.
Franklin G. Dinces (of The Dinces Law Firm ), for respondent.
AUTHOR: Stephen M. Brown, J. WE CONCUR: Kevin M. Korsmo, J., Robert E. Lawrence-Berrey Jr., J.
[180 Wn.App. 639] Brown,
¶ 1 The city of Pasco (City) appeals the trial court's summary grant of a tax refund to IGI Resources Inc. (IGI) for taxes paid on gas delivered outside the City's boundaries. The trial court concluded the City's administrative procedure regarding tax refunds was inapplicable because it had equity jurisdiction to decide a suit for money had and received. We stayed this case for this question to be decided in Cost Management Services, Inc. v. City of Lakewood, 178 Wn.2d 635, 310 P.3d 804 (2013), and now hold IGI was required to exhaust its administrative remedies before filing suit. Accordingly, we reverse the court's summary judgment grant.
¶ 2 Stipulated facts show IGI is a natural gas supplier selling gas to customers, including Resers Fine Foods, a large processing plant located in an area known as Pasco Gate. IGI sold natural gas to Resers from January 2008 [180 Wn.App. 640] through April 2009. Effective May 1, 2009, the City annexed the Pasco Gate property. Pasco Municipal Code (PMC) 5.32.040(C) provides for a tax on natural gas sales " within the limits of the city of Pasco." Before Pasco Gate's annexation, IGl " erroneously reported and paid" utility tax to the City for natural gas delivered to Pasco Gate. Clerk's Papers (CP) at 86. From September 2010 to December 2010, IGI erroneously paid taxes for natural gas delivered to another Resers building in an area outside the City known as Burbank Heights Gate.
¶ 3 On February 1, 2011, IGI sued in equity for money had and received without first pursuing any municipal administrative remedies for the refund. Both parties requested summary judgment. The trial court granted IGI's request, finding the City's administrative guidelines and remedies did not apply because it had equity jurisdiction. The court awarded IGI " $128,384.33, plus pre- and postjudgment interest at the judgment rate." CP at 23. The City appealed after the court denied reconsideration.
¶ 4 The issue is whether the trial court erred in granting IGI's request for summary judgment based on IGI's equity claim for money had and received despite the City's administrative procedures for requesting a tax refund.
¶ 5 We review summary judgment orders de novo and determine whether the supporting materials, viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, demonstrate " that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." CR 56(c); Oltman v. Holland Am. Line USA, Inc., 163 Wn.2d 236, 243, 178 P.3d 981 (2008). Similarly, the applicability of a city taxation ordinance is a legal question that is ...